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Suicide awareness

Suicide awareness

Congress 2018 provided the opportunity to raise awareness of suicide.  Despite previous Congress debates and UK wide national initiatives on suicide,  there remain significant gaps across services, with many registered nurses lacking knowledge and understanding around suicide - knowing what to do, when to share and when to step in. 

With the addition of suicide and self-harm to the new NMC education standards, we want to see improvements across all nursing disciplines in suicide awareness, to include the confidence to share information in a timely way.

What to do if you are suicidal

If you are feeling suicidal and feeling that you want to die, it is important that you tell someone. Call the Samaritans on 116 123, email or read these important messages. Please try to stay safe until you can speak to someone about how you feel.

There are also other helplines that you may want to use:

If you are helping someone with suicidal feelings, there is more information available from and Time to Change.

Supporting professionals understanding and spotting early warning signs

National policy and guidance

NICE guideline on preventing suicide in community and custodial settings - this guideline covers ways to reduce suicide and help people bereaved or affected by suicides.

The RCN Mental health programme is a member of The National Suicide Prevention Alliance (NSPA) an alliance of public, private and voluntary organisations in England who care about suicide prevention and are willing to take individual and collective action to reduce suicide and support those bereaved or affected by suicide.

Further information about RCN Suicide Awareness activity

This toolkit is a collaboration between the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and Public Health England to support and develop the role of nurses in the prevention of lesbian, gay and bisexual suicide.

The nursing community makes an invaluable contribution to identifying and caring for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis, especially those at risk of, or experiencing suicidal thoughts. However, nurses themselves are considered a high risk group. We believe there are 6 key areas where action is needed to improve suicide prevention in England.

This survey sought to gain insight into nurses' suicide awareness and prevention training, their confidence in engaging in conversations about suicide, and the barriers and enablers affecting their engagement and future training in this area.

Building knowledge and awareness

Brief online training:

Face-to-face training:

Related news

RCN Congress: Health Practitioners Programme: Suicide Awareness. 21 May 2019, 9am - 9:45am

With 5,821 suicides in the UK alone, 135 people affected by each one, and many of them preventable, Dr Phil Moore, chair of NHS Clinical Commissioners’ Mental Health Commissioners Network, writes on an international collective that's addressing avoidable gaps in UK and international healthcare systems. See: Zero Suicide: A collective global effort to prevent suicide 

Page last updated - 05/03/2019